The Internet country code top-level domain for Poland is “.pl.” The first letter of the alphabet in the Polish language, like in most, is the letter “a.” Put them together and you have Apple’s latest legal attack target: A.pl.
The Polish website Telepolis is reporting that Apple demanded that the Urząd Patentowy Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej (Poland’s Patent Office) cancel the trademark belonging to A.PL Internet SA. The first meeting actually took place on August 29, but it was adjourned and deferred to a later date.
My Polish isn’t what it used to be, but it seems to me that this will be a long battle (Telepolis says two to three years), unless of course it is settled out of court. While the case isn’t public, so we don’t know the details of the arguments of both sides, the general stance for both is fairly easy to glean.
As with most trademark cases, Apple is arguing that A.pl’s mark creates a likelihood of confusion and attempts to trade off the fame of Apple. The consumer electronics giant wants the trademark invalidated and earlier objected to its registration in the first place.
A.pl meanwhile is of course looking to defend its trademark. The company markets itself as an online deli store that offers home delivery. I would bet A.pl will be arguing that it is not in the same business as Apple and therefore there should be no reason for consumers to be confused.
There are two possible outcomes: A.pl can lose the right to protect its name or Apple’s case may be dismissed. Again, assuming Apple and A.pl don’t figure out a compromise between themselves, it will be a while before we see a conclusion. Regardless of who wins the first bout, appeals will likely be made to the Wojewódzki Sąd Administracyjny (Regional Administrative Court) in Warsaw.
Update: While the article doesn’t mention it, this may actually be about the logo over at fresh24.pl, which is owned by a.pl. Here’s the logo in question:
So now the question is: does Apple have the right to all apple-looking logos, even those outside of the consumer electronics market?
Image credit: stock.xchng